Schwarzman Makes $100 Million Donation

NEW YORK (AP) – The head of the private equity Blackstone Group will donate $100 million of his own fortune to expand the New York Public Library system, one of the largest gifts ever for a cultural institution in the city.


The gift from Stephen A. Schwarzman, expected to be announced Tuesday, will be spent transforming the Central Library, a 1911 Beaux Arts structure on Fifth Avenue, into a research and book-borrowing destination. Books currently cannot be taken from the library.


The library will be renamed for the 61-year-old Wall Street financier and library trustee.


“This was an absolutely first-class, professional, practical strategic plan, and it deserved to be supported,” Schwarzman told The New York Times. “The library helps lower- and middle-income people — immigrants — get their shot at the American dream.”


Paul LeClerc, the president of the library's board of trustees, said that Schwarzman's name would be discreetly placed in stone on either side of the main entrance of the Central Library, but only if the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission approves the change to the protected structure. None of the other trustees raised concerns about the renaming, he said.


Blackstone Group LP said on Monday that it had lost $170 million during the fourth quarter amid deteriorating credit markets. Blackstone shares dipped to an all-time low.


Schwarzman said Blackstone's fortunes play no role in his gift to the library.


“As you have more resources in life, it's your obligation to deploy those for the benefit of others,” he said.